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A home isn’t really home without a furry friend, is it? A whole 85 million households have a pet as part of their family. These animals bring comfort and joy and certain animals can even help protect their family from a home invasion, which carries a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison in Michigan. But cats and dogs aren’t always able to tell their humans when they’re uncomfortable. This is why it’s so important to keep your pets cool in the summer heat. So let’s take a look at a few tips to help keep your pets cool and comfortable all summer long.

Keep Your Home Cool

One of the easiest ways to keep your cat or dog cool during the summer is to keep your home cool. If you have central air conditioning, make sure it’s set at a good temperature to keep the house comfortable, even if you adjust it a few degrees while everyone is at work or school — remember that someone is still home during the day! Humidity levels should be kept between 30% and 55% to maintain optimum air quality. If you’re looking to keep your HVAC working efficiently so you can save energy, make sure you schedule maintenance inspections twice each year. And if you don’t have air conditioning, make sure to invest in some fans or window AC units. If your pet tends to hang out in a certain area of the home, or they’re left in a crate during the day, make sure to focus the cooling in those specific areas.

Watch for Overheating

Pets can overheat just like people can. Because of this, you need to keep an eye out for warning signs that your pet may be overheating. Panting, increased drooling, elevated heart rate, difficulty breathing, and signs of weakness or agitation can all be symptoms of overheating. If your pet is showing any of these signs, make sure to get them to a cool area as quickly as possible. Consider patting them down with a cool, damp towel, blow a fan on them, and keep them calm. If the symptoms persist, make sure to call the vet to ensure they get the care they need.

Focus on Hydration

Keeping your cat or dog hydrated is important all the time, but especially in the hot weather. Without enough water, your pet may show signs of dehydration, which can include a dry mouth, sunken or glossy eyes, and fatigue. You should ensure your pet has easy access to water wherever they are — this includes a bowl of water outside if they go outdoors. If your pet doesn’t like to go up or down stairs, which are the second leading cause of accidental injury, then make sure their water bowl isn’t on a floor they can’t easily get to. And if you take your dog on a walk, always bring a water bottle and bowl with you in case they need it.

Get Them Groomed

If you have a dog with a lot of fur or even a long-haired cat, it’s crucial to get them groomed during the summer. With there being more than 75 million pet dogs in the United States, there’s sure to be a professional groomer in your area. A groomer will know the best way to thin your pet’s coat — and don’t forget, there are some breeds that need their long, thick coat to actually stay cool! So don’t shave your animal before talking to your vet or a licensed groomer.

As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to keep them comfortable and safe. So don’t just worry about keeping yourself cool — keep your cat or dog a comfortable temperature in the summer heat with these simple tips.